NANUET – One of the most dynamic backcourts in Section 1 is heading to the County Center.
Behind another strong game from slasher Terence Rogers and knockdown shooter Kevin Mackin, fourth-seeded Nanuet cruised past No. 5 Rye with a 60-38 victory in Friday night’s Class A quarterfinal. The convincing win puts the Golden Knights in the semifinals for the first time since 2010, and the first time ever as a Class A team.
“That’s been my best friend for a long time, so we kind of work off of one another,” Rogers said of Mackin. “It’s a tandem where I’ll look for him and he’ll look for me. We know that we’re on the same page, and that gives us an advantage because we haven’t met too many teams that can guard us both.”
The duo combined to score 38 points, but their shots weren’t falling in the opening minutes. It was the Nanuet defense that keyed a strong start, as the Knights allowed just two points in the first quarter.
“Our offense started slow, but we knew that we had to win this game on the defensive end,” Mackin said. “We knew that they’re a great 3-point-shooting team, and we knew that we really had to pressure the perimeter.”
Nanuet also controlled the glass, outrebounding the Garnets 31-24 — a margin that was even more lopsided before the starters came out in the closing minutes.
The combination of strong defense, size down low and excellent guard play will make the Golden Knights a very tough out. They’ll play No. 1 Tappan Zee in the semis at 7:45 p.m. on Monday at the County Center. Nanuet traded wins with TZ in two meetings during the regular season.
“We started out young and kind of just stuck together,” Rogers said. “It’s nice to see all of the fall workouts and summer work that we put in, all of the extra shots after practice, it’s just nice that it finally all came together.”
Players of the game: Kevin Mackin and Terence Rogers, Nanuet — It’s impossible to choose one over the other. Mackin’s jump shot was lethal and he didn’t miss from the free-throw line, while Rogers was the most active player on the court, consistently penetrating and causing havoc in the paint.
“Our chemistry is great,” Mackin said. “We’ve been playing since, I don’t even know how many years back. We complement each other really well. (Rogers) does some of the things that I don’t do that great, and I do some of the things that he doesn’t do that great.”
Turning point: At no point did Nanuet relinquish the lead, but Rye had a brief spurt in the third quarter when a 9-3 run cut the deficit to 36-22. The Knights responded by closing out the quarter on a 9-2 run, putting the game out of reach for the Garnets.
Stat line: Nanuet (17-5) — Mackin led all scorers with 24 points and Rogers added 14 to go with nine rebounds and three steals. Jordan Landsman had eight points and eight rebounds, Brandon Slaybaugh scored eight points to go with four assists and Nick D’Allara added seven rebounds. Rye (16-6) — Charlie Nagle led the way with 15 points and seven rebounds. Mark Croughan added six points and seven rebounds.
Quotable: “We knew that they were going to come in and shoot, so we liked that it was at our place,” Rogers said. “This is our last game here, and it’s kind of a hard place to shoot. We knew that if we closed out hard on their shooters and tried to disrupt them, we knew that they weren’t going to have the best day. Teams have come in here and struggled because of our defense.”